Marine Biology

, Volume 156, Issue 3, pp 479–491 | Cite as

Submesoscale distribution of Antarctic krill and its avian and pinniped predators before and after a near gale

  • Joseph D. Warren
  • Jarrod A. Santora
  • David A. Demer
Original Paper


We conducted two ship-based surveys of the nearshore ecosystem north of Livingston Island, Antarctica during 2–10 February 2005. Between the two surveys, a low-pressure system (963 mbar) passed through the area providing the opportunity to measure ecosystem parameters before and after a near gale. A ship-based multiple-frequency acoustic-backscatter survey was used to assess the distribution and relative abundance of Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba). Net tows, hydrographic profiles, and meteorological data were collected to measure biological and physical processes that might affect the krill population. During the survey, the distribution and behavior of several krill predators [chinstrap penguins (Pygoscelis antarctica), cape petrels (Daption capense), and Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella)] were measured from the vessel by visual observations. The survey encompassed an area of roughly 2,500 km2, containing two submarine canyons with one to the west and one to the east of Cape Shirreff, which had different abundances of krill and predators. Several aspects of the nearshore ecosystem changed after the near gale including: hydrography of the upper 100 m of the water column, phytoplankton biomass, the abundance and distribution of krill, and the distribution of some krill predators. Differences in these parameters were also measured between the two canyons. These changes in the physical and biological environment during the survey period are quantified and show that the ecosystem exhibited significant changes over relatively short spatial (tens of kilometers) and time (tens of hours) scales.


Phytoplankton Biomass Antarctic Krill Chinstrap Penguin Acoustic Survey Krill Abundance 



The Captain and crew of the RV Yuzhmorgeologiya provided excellent assistance in conducting this study. We greatly appreciate the assistance of D. J. Futuyma in collection of predator observations. Echosounder data were collected and processed by A. Cossio and C. Reiss. Zooplankton net tow data were collected and processed by K. Dietrich, R. Driscoll, D. Lombard, P. Kappes, T. Reddy, and S. Wilson who were led by V. Loeb. D. Needham and M. van den Berg collected the hydrographic data. C. D. Hewes provided the phytoplankton biomass measurements. C. Reiss, R. Veit, and several anonymous reviewers provided useful feedback on this manuscript. Support for this project was jointly provided by the Office of Polar Programs at the National Science Foundation (grants # OPP-0338196 and OPP-0633939 to J. D. W. and D. A .D.) and NOAA’s Antarctic Marine Living Resources program led by R. Holt. J.A.S. was supported by National Science Foundation grant OPP-9983751 awarded to R. R. Veit. This is contribution #1379 of the Marine Sciences Research Center at Stony Brook University.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph D. Warren
    • 1
  • Jarrod A. Santora
    • 2
  • David A. Demer
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Marine and Atmospheric SciencesStony Brook UniversityStony BrookUSA
  2. 2.Biology Department, College of Staten IslandCity University of New YorkStaten IslandUSA
  3. 3.Southwest Fisheries Science CenterLa JollaUSA

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